Opportunities abound for smart switch innovation – considering their convenient location options in every home and easy access to power. I’m not sure why other companies have failed to give these comparatively simple devices the full attention they deserve, but HomeSeer definitely gets it. With the release of their new 200+ series switch and dimmer, HomeSeer has once again hit it out of the park on what I consider to be one of the most useful Z-Wave devices on the market today.
I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that HomeSeer’s latest switch endeavors have been quite successful based solely on the feedback and traffic I’ve received for the SmartThings device handlers for the previous 100+ series switches. Not willing to rest on their laurels, HomeSeer has relatively quickly released a compelling switch upgrade that not only addresses customer feedback, but also brings new capabilities to wake up the market.
While the previous 100+ series switches were extremely well liked from my observations, the two most common complaints were that the white LED’s did not match the standard blue of many other popular Z-Wave switches such as the GE’s and also that there was no “night light” option for the dimmer to set the bottom LED when the dimmer was set to off.
These new switches have the same look and feel as well as instant status capability as their 100+ series predecessors while addressing the issues mentioned above. In addition, these new offerings expand on the multi-tap features and provide an intriguing LED status mode option allowing individual control of the LED color and blink status.
200+ Series Added Features
Full Feature Summary
As with their predecessors, these new switches utilize a 500 series Z-Wave Plus module sporting extended range and network-wide inclusion (NWI). A summary of capabilities as well as a brief description of these features is included below.
Multi-tap: Notifies the controlling hub via central scene notification when the switch has detected 2-5 taps or a held press in either the up or down direction. A simple use case for multi-tap capabilities might be to turn on your porch light with a single press, include pathway lighting with a double tap, and also include flood lighting with a triple tap.
Instant Status: Immediately notifies the Z-Wave controller via a Central Scene notification as well as Switch Multilevel Report (dimmer) or Binary Report (switch) when the switch has been turned on or off. This provides fast on/off change detection when using a compatible Z-Wave controller.
Normal mode: Standard/default operating mode. The LED indicators glow indicate the on/off/dim level status. All LED’s are set to a single defined color that is controllable via a Z-Wave controller.
Status mode: Allows independent control of color and blink status of individual LED’s. This can be used to reflect the status of connected home automation sensors and devices. For example (from HomeSeer’s web site): if it’s after midnight and the garage door was left open, the 3rd LED on all the bedroom dimmers can be programmed to glow yellow (or any color). If a smoke alarm goes off, all LEDS on all dimmers can blink red. If no status conditions are active, the wall switch can return to normal mode. When in status mode, the dimmer will temporarily revert to normal mode when the switch dim level is being manually adjusted, and will return to status mode immediately when the switch paddle is released.
3-Way Switch/Dimmer Configuration
Both the HS-WD200+ dimmer and HS-WS200+ switch can be installed in 3-way switch configurations using the HomeSeer HS-WA100+ wired 3-way companion switch. This is a non-RF companion switch and requires a conventional 3-way traveler wire. Once installed, HS-WA100+ works like any other paddle-style switch and will remotely control the attached HomeSeer wall dimmer or wall switch with on-off-dim functions as well as trigger the advanced multi-tap/hold capabilities.
Feature Detail Summary:
On/Off Switch Features
As with the 100+ series predecessors for these devices, the instant-on and multi-tap capabilities worked well for me and the dimmer produced no noticeable hum or flicker. I noticed no degradation from the prior capabilities and I had no issues controlling the LED colors in both status and normal modes. As minor as the issue sounds, I was very pleased to finally have the LED colors for these switches match the blue LEDs of the other GE Z-Wave switches that I have in my home.
Also as with its predecessor, the on/off switch has a 0.4-second delay between when the physical on/off switch is pressed and when you actually hear the switch relay click and see the light turn on or off. This is common to the GE Z-Wave switches as well. As I mentioned in the GE Z-Wave switch review, that sounds like it would be a little more annoying than it ends up being in practice. You get used to it – or, at least I quickly did.
I did have an initial issue setting blink status for the dimmer LEDs when connected to the SmartThings hub, but after a quick perusal of the device handler code and after confirmation with HomeSeer, I was able to make a small change to the device handler code to correct the issue.
I tested both the dimmer and on/off switch with both a HomeSeer controller and the SmartThings hub. I also added these to a Wink Hub, and while they joined fine as generic switches, the Wink Hub software does not include options to make use of the multi-tap or LED control capabilities.
To make use of the enhanced multi-tap and dynamic LED color control capabilities of these switches, the SmartThings hub requires a custom device handler. This currently necessitates that the SmartThings control logic runs in the cloud resulting in control response times that are orders of magnitude slower than for the locally operating HomeSeer controller. You can see some examples of this lag in the demo video below. While not ideal, this is certainly not a deal-breaker for me.
Based on my initial evaluation, these are now my favorite Z-Wave switches. Although the price point for is currently a tad higher than for the previous generation from HomeSeer, the added cost is worth it to me for the flexibility of the added features.
- 7 LED color options
- Flexible status mode allowing individual addressed LED color and blink status.
- Option to turn on bottom LED when switch is off.
- Instant status
- Multi-tap control
- Almond color paddle option
- 7 level LED dim indicator (dimmer)
- 0.4 second delay between when on/off switch is toggled and load is controlled
- Neutral wire pigtail not included in packaging (this is a nice extra touch included with the GE Z-Wave switches)
SmartThings Device Handlers for HomeSeer HS-WSD200+ & HS-WD200+
I was quite impressed to find that HomeSeer updated the device handlers I originally wrote for the 100+ series switches to extend them in support of the added 200+ series capabilities. HomeSeer has even detailed out specific SmartThings instructions in a HomeSeer HelpDesk article.
I’ve since updated the WD200+ device handler to include a fix for individual flash states, as well as the ability to set all LEDs at once by specifying LED 0.
HS-WS200+ and HS-WD200+ Button Mappings
The button mappings for SmartThings can also be found in the mobile app GUI for the WD200+ dimmer.
Which SmartThings SmartApp should be used with these?
I highly recommend WebCoRE to control any SmartThings complex interactions such as controlling the LED color and/or blink state of these switches in status mode. For most simple interactions involving multi-tap actions, the standard Smart Lighting app may satisfy your needs.
Here is the sample WebCore script I used to set flash all LED’s red when a door is open when in night mode:
Which controller/hubs and devices may be best for your specific system needs?
I typically test products and services that have been purchased through standard retail channels. There are many reasons for this; Aside from the concern of the perception of bias from the receipt of products for review, ideally this also provides some indication of sample variation versus items hand-picked by vendors. While I have no reason to believe that these samples are not typical production units, the switch and dimmer reviewed here were provided directly to me from HomeSeer as review samples. I’ll soon have additional samples of the switches arriving from standard retail channels and I will note here if I encounter any anomalies.